Let’s do this in one breath: The White Sox and Twins concluded their disappointing 2022 seasons on Wednesday with a 10-1 drubbing in favor of the visitors, leaving the Sox resting at an even .500 record that was nonetheless the second-most wins in a season produced by a Rick Hahn-led team.
Perspective and expectations sure are everything, huh?
Having done a Six Pack nearly every single Wednesday of the past six months, I can’t say I’m going to be feeling an ache in my heart seven days from now. But as much as I (and we) complain, I’ll be back for it next year, and I’m sure you will be, too. I’d say it’s been a pleasure, but it hasn’t, but also, it has. I used to absolutely hate it when my college coach would tell me that it’s a privilege to be here — because we sucked, and that kind of thing was usually said to us when we were running suicides in a cold gym at 6 a.m. in February — but when it comes to having people read words you wrote about a season, it always is, no matter how bad said season may be.
As my colleague Chrystal said yesterday: That’s enough sappy stuff from me. We’ve got a game to break down.
Davis Martin was this close to finishing the 2022 season as one of the few statistical pleasant surprises of this moribund roster, and while the balance of his season might have been a resounding success — getting a stretch of 61 2⁄3 innings with a 3.65 ERA, which was Martin’s line entering today, from a 14th-round pick with six starts above High-A entering the year is nothing short of excellent — his final statline will be less kind, as an injury-abbreviated 1 2⁄3 -inning, nine-run showing in Game 162 ballooned his full-season ERA to a Velasquezian 4.88 in 63 total innings.
Nothing about Martin’s stuff indicated injury until he left the game with what the team is calling biceps tightness, but the way the Twins simply hammered everything he served them, it seems logical that something was just a little bit off. Martin left the game with two runners on after a sudden visit to the mound from Ethan Katz, James Kruk, and Miguel Cairo, Velasquez proceeded to give up a single to score those two runners before closing out the innings, and that was a wrap on Martin’s 2022.
Martin’s belabored 50-pitch outing looked like this:
Facing the White Sox for the second time in a six-day span, Louie Varland did what right-handers with OK-but-not-super-interesting stuff have done to this team all year: Shut ’em down for five innings with minimal resistance. Despite drawing few swings-and-misses, his slider/cutter combination (essentially the same pitch at different velocities, with the lost speed on the slider giving it considerably more drop) was enough to keep Sox hitters away from his fastball, which they watched go by for a strike nine times this afternoon. It was a good way to cap off the St. Paul native’s first taste of big-league action, giving the 24-year-old his first MLB win and concluding his initial run in The Show with a respectable 3.81 ERA and an outstanding 21-to-6 K/BB ratio in 26 innings over five starts.
Varland’s 78-pitch outing looked like this:
When the highest-leverage moment of the game comes with one out in the first inning, it usually means one team had a really bad day. In this case, we know which team it was, and the moment was Gary Sánchez’s 1.96 LI plate appearance in the first inning in which he did this:
It was an ignominious day for Davis Martin, whose 0.71 pLI was the highest of the game, largely because his performance removed the pressure from just about everyone else.
Sánchez’s ding dong johnson gave Minnesota .222 WPA, and thought I’m writing this with two outs in the third inning, I feel fairly confident that’s a number that won’t be topped for the rest of the afternoon.
Have a day, Gary. The homer and double for Sánchez were enough for a .250 WPA on the day, highest on either team.
Hardest hit: Sánchez’s second trip to the plate against Davis Martin wasn’t quite as successful as his first — he only picked up two total bases, rather than four — but he actually hit the ball harder: 110.7 mph, to be exact, highest of the game.
Weakest contact: Adam Engel’s fourth-inning single against Varland left the bat at just 40 mph.
Luckiest hit: Gavin Sheets reached base with a single that had just a .160 xBA.
Toughest out: The eighth inning line drive that Gio Urshela smoked straight at Elvis Andrus for an out had a .880 xBA.
Longest hit: Have a day, Gary: The 399 feet traveled by his homer was not to be topped for the rest of the 2022 season.
Magic Number: 1,270
José Dariel Abreu Correa finishes this season with 1,270 career major league games under his belt, all with the Chicago White Sox. The latest in a 32-year, nearly-unbroken line of All-Star to Hall of Fame-caliber first basemen, if today was the last time that Abreu came into the dugout in a White Sox uniform (and if yesterday was the last time he saw the field), we can at least rest assured that he will be back before long in the form of a statue on the outfield concourse, for which well-deserved is simply an understatement. On behalf of everyone reading and writing on this site: Thank you, José.
Hard-hit is any ball off the bat at 95 mph or more
LI measures pressure per play
pLI measures total pressure faced in-game
Whiff a swing-and-miss
WPA win probability added measures contributions to the win
xBA expected batting average
Who was the White Sox MVP today?
This poll is closed
Carlos Pérez (2-for-4, 2B, RBI)
José Abreu (Don’t question it)
The SSS Staff (Watched the 2022 White Sox)
Who was the White Sox cold cat today?
This poll is closed
Davis Martin (1 2⁄3 IP, 9 ER, 2 BB. SO)
Tony La Russa (Once more, for old time’s sake)
Rick Hahn (Top-tier job security)